‘We Have a Problem,’ Cheyenne Mayor-Elect Says of Crime Numbers
Cheyenne Mayor-elect Patrick Collins says his decision not to retain Police Chief Brian Kozak when he takes office on Jan. 4 has little to do with Cheyenne Frontier Days, and everything to do with crime numbers.
"We're not clearing cases, we're not putting bad guys in jail, and that's my reason for making a change," Collins told KGAB Radio.
Collins says statewide crime data from 2012 to 2019, which can be found on the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation's website, show the Cheyenne Police Department's clearance rate "dropping like a rock."
"In 2012, '13 and '14, the city's numbers were pretty good ... but starting in 2015, we dropped precipitously," said Collins. "They're going up a little bit, but they're still three times less than Casper's, what I would consider a benchmark in our peer group."
"If I'm looking at the crime numbers, I'm thinking that we have a problem," Collins added. "The numbers tell me we are absolutely not as safe as we need to be."
Collins says the numbers shouldn't be a reflection on the men and women of the police department, as they're merely "following the leadership of the chief."
"I'm not saying (Kozak) hasn't done some good things, he's done some really good things, but I think we need a new perspective," said Collins. "We need a chief who is going to be more into the investigations and putting more of our resources into fighting crime."
Collins says he believes Captain Nate Buseck shares his perspective, and he's asked him to be the acting chief and apply for the job.
"I would love to see an internal candidate be selected because I think that's good for morale in any department, but we're going to pick the best chief that we can find," said Collins. "However, I think Nate could compete with anybody. He's a gifted, experienced lawman."